Brownfield redevelopment reforms head to governor

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Bipartisan legislation to streamline existing laws governing the state’s brownfield redevelopment program was finalized by the Senate on Thursday.

The state Department of Environmental Quality describes Brownfield properties as those in which the redevelopment or reuse of a property may be complicated by the presence or perception of contamination. By revitalizing and redeveloping the properties, the environment is better protected and existing infrastructure is reused, which improves communities and boosts economic opportunities.

“This common-sense legislation would help property owners and developers to more quickly complete brownfield redevelopment sites,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, sponsor of SB 908. “It could also help attract more and better jobs to Michigan communities.”

Senate Bills 908-913 would aid those redevelopment projects by more clearly identifying exactly what activities are eligible in what situation. Certain activities are considered eligible depending on where a property is located or based on who owns the property.

An example highlighted by Schmidt is the cleaning up of an underground storage tank site, which is considered an environmental activity, but is not currently eligible for approval by the Department of Environmental Quality. This and other inconsistencies are confusing and delay projects throughout the state.

Importantly, the bills would not result in increased taxation, a decrease in government funding to our schools, or increased local government expenditures.

The legislation initially stemmed from a nine-month-long workgroup in which lawmakers, officials from state government and members of the business community met to formulate ways to bring consistency and efficiency to the program while ensuring environmental protection and encouraging economic growth.

SBs 908-13 await the governor’s signature.